Álvaro Bautista has joined Superbike World Championship after proving his skills in MotoGP and now he has to carry out a both stimulating and very difficult task, as he’s expected to take to win the brand new Ducati Panigale V4R. The main problem is, as usual, Jonathan Rea and for sure Bautista didn’t expect the four times WorldSBK Champion to be even one second faster than his opponents at Portimao Test. Yes, it’s true that Ducati Panigale V4R needs some time to be developed and reach its highest potential, as well as the fact that Bautista had never ridden in Portimao before, but the gap between the Spaniard and Rea is very big and maybe the time left before Phillip Island season opener is not enough to bridge it all. Bautista has always been very strong on the Australian track, but he needs a great Ducati machine to defeat Rea.
“Portimao Test was very positive for me”, said Álvaro Bautista. “The first day was very difficult: it was my first time in Portimão, a rollercoaster track which is very difficult to be learnt, and it took a while to get to speed. The second day of testing was much easier, because I knew the track and so I was able to make some progress. It was our last test before flying to Australia, so I spent as much time as I could on the track, in order to increase my confidence with Ducati V4R. We’ve a good basis to build on and so we’re happy with how the test went. However, we know that there’s still much work to be done.”
Translated by Alessandro Palma